Employee Retention Challenges and Solutions

Does your small business struggle to hire or retain excellent employees? Here are nine suggestions for keeping top talent.

 

As a small business you should be aware of exactly how you are actively supporting your employees’ overall success. The pandemic has shown us that employees are looking for new and better opportunities all the time and that small businesses are struggling to hire and retain employees. Whether it be to thrive in their current role at your organization or to prepare them for their next career advancement, it is your responsibility to make sure your employees grow and thrive in their jobs. Ensuring your team is equipped with the latest knowledge and skills in their field will definitely contribute to your business’s long-term success. Constant employee turnover is costly and time consuming, therefore investing both mentally and financially into your employee’s growth will help with retention issues. Employees know when they’re being supported, and when they’re not.

Here are some suggestions you can take to increase your employee retention:

Retention Suggestion No. 1: Open lines of communication. Goals change as we grow. Talk with your employees about their career goals. If possible, create a development plan to help them grow into management, if that is a goal, or other ways in which you can help foster their goals.

Retention Suggestion No. 2: Enhance communication between all levels within your company. By removing the level barriers, you may find that sharing ideas will help your employees and help your company to grow.

RELATED: Why employee motivation matters more in a small business.

Retention Suggestion No. 3: Create an open-door policy. Let your employees know that they can come to you when they have an issue. Creating trust will help with productivity and performance.

Retention Suggestion No. 4: Create a mentorship program. A lower-level employee can grow into a great manager. Mentoring can help your company’s culture while also providing a way for management and senior employees to get to know junior employees.

Retention Suggestion No. 5: Invest in employee training. If you have a training program in place for new hires, it helps to avoid any disconnect between current employees and new hires. This can be done virtually or in-person as things begin to open up. And don’t forget on-going training for all employees to increase their skill set, as well as training for diversity & inclusion initiatives, HR and workplace protocols and team-building skills.

Retention Suggestion No. 6: Invest in professional memberships for your employees. This will provide employees with a means to develop relationships and new skills and come back with new ideas and innovations.

Retention Suggestion No. 7: Do performance reviews. Even if you have only a couple of employees, performance reviews are a way to let employees know how they’re doing, and what they can be doing differently in order to reach their goals. Be candid, but also constructive. Do annual reviews, but also think about doing quarterly reviews.

RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff.

Retention Suggestion No. 8: Recognize your employees. Find ways to recognize the accomplishments your employees make throughout the year to encourage them to keep up the good work.

Retention Suggestion No. 9: Expand their horizons within the company. Offer employees opportunities to delve into other departments—including shadowing a co-worker for the day. This gives them an idea of what others are working on and helps them see how everyone works together to achieve overall company goals.

By investing in these simple ideas, you are also investing in your company’s growth.

 

Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at mailto:info@sacsconsulting.com.

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  • Next up: Electronic Communications: Employer VS. Employee Privacy Rights
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  • Electronic Communications: Employer VS. Employee Privacy Rights

    To what extent can employers monitor their employees when it comes to electronic communication? It can be confusing but it's important you know your rights.

     

    As a small business owner, it is important that you are knowledgeable about employee rights, even if you only have a few employees. Workplace privacy rights extend to all employees no matter the size of the business. 

    In simple terms, employee privacy rights are basically the rules that limit how extensively an employer can search an employee’s possessions or person; how much they can monitor employees’ actions, speech, or correspondence; and how much an employer can know about their personal lives. By its very nature, social media has increased privacy concerns and potential issues as people post, tweet or otherwise put personal information out into the electronic universe. So as a small business owner it can be confusing regarding what you can and cannot do regarding employee privacy rights. I will provide some general information and guidance, but when in doubt, always check with your attorney. 

    Electronic communication and social media are huge areas of concern when it comes to employee vs. employer rights. As a general rule, employers have the right to search through anything that appears on company computers, social media and the internet. So basically, as an employer you can review e-mails sent and received through your own server, but you cannot access an employee's personal e-mail account through a password that's stored on a work-issued device. It is important to have a policy that explains to employees how you monitor email and computers and that there is no expectation of privacy when using your computers or property.

    RELATED: Do you have these items in your employee handbook?

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) provides the following guidance:
    Company policies should not bar activity protected by federal labor law, like the discussion of working conditions or wages amongst workers.
    A worker’s social media comments are generally unprotected if they are minor complaints not related to a group activity with employees.

    Employers also have the right to monitor telephone calls placed to and from their locations, but with limits. The Electronics Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) prohibits employers from monitoring employees' personal phone calls even if the calls were made or received on an employer's property. The Act also requires the employer to disclose the fact that calls are being monitored and makes it a civil liability for employers to read, disclose, delete, or prevent access to an employee's voicemail.

    Employers have the right to monitor their employees by camera, including in a parking structure for both security and employee safety. However, employers are required to notify employees, customers, and all others in the range of the cameras that their property is under video surveillance. Video recordings cannot include audio due to federal wiretap laws. And cameras can only be used in areas where there is a legitimate threat of theft or violence and never in break rooms, bathrooms or locker rooms.

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff.

    As always, there are some exceptions to all of these rules, especially when electronic communications are involved. Make sure you think about who is setting up your business' social media accounts and make sure that they and you have a clear understanding upfront about who is granted access to those accounts and what rights your employees will have with regard to those accounts.

    President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Security ExpertTimothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com.

     
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  • Next up: How CEOs Can Help Power an Inclusive Recovery
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  • How CEOs Can Help Power an Inclusive Recovery

    Watch the latest webinar in the "But What Does It Mean?" series - GCP's Equity & Inclusion's webinar series devoted to translating research studies and data into meaningful action.

    In a recent GCP webinar, presenters from the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings - Alan Berube, senior fellow and deputy director, and Reniya Dinkins, senior research assistant - shared findings from recent reports that include key economic performance data for the Cleveland metro area.

    Watch the recording below: 

     

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  • Next up: How to Know When it’s Time to Part Ways With a Customer or Client
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  • How to Know When it’s Time to Part Ways With a Customer or Client

    Is it possible that the customer isn't always right? Despite your best efforts, there may be times when it's best to part ways with a customer or client. Make it as painless as possible with these tips.

     

    As a small business, you rely on your customers or clients to survive. They are the lifeline of your business. You appreciate the projects and the business they give you, the money you earn from doing business with them, and even the friendship you may have developed. 

    But sometimes they can become more of a problem than an asset. They may become a nightmare to work with—perhaps they have stopped paying on time or are causing problems with your staff. Maybe they have unrealistic demands or keep adding on to the project but are unwilling to pay more. Maybe they are unresponsive or unsupportive of your work. 

    That’s when it may be time to consider firing them.

    But, can you really fire a client or customer? The short answer is yes, you can. However, it is crucial to first make sure you have exhausted all other solutions and explored any potential remedies to the problem. It is always best to work things out when possible. 

    A working relationship is kind of like a marriage. You have invested time, energy, and money into this relationship. It’s important to take the necessary time and effort to ensure ending the relationship is the right thing to do—and that is it what you want to do.

    To begin this process, start by taking full stock of the situation and clearly identifying the problems. Are you losing money on them? Are you losing staff because of them? Why and how?

    Also try to look at the situation objectively and make sure your ego or your need to make money is not getting in your way. 

    Then, take some time to talk to the customer or client and listen to what they have to say. Clearly assess the situation to determine if you can work out the challenges and problems. Then make your decision with a clear head and a clear conscious.

    However, it may be that a customer or client has behaved inappropriately with you or your staff. These types of situations are definitely more cut-and-dry—and you shouldn’t hesitate to fire them immediately. This includes sexual or any other form of harassment. 

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff 

    If you decide that the time has come to fire a customer or client, here are some tips to ensure the smoothest process possible:

    Be honest and clear about the problems or the situation 
    Never blame them or intentionally offend them. Blame the particular circumstances if necessary—this can include personal circumstances or a change in business direction
    Finish any outstanding projects or services to the best of your ability
    Create a final task list for both you and the client
    Suggest a replacement if you can
    End the working relationships in person or by phone or letter—not in email

    Firing a client or customer is never easy or preferred. It’s almost always a tough choice to make. However, if it needs to be done, doing it quickly and the right way will help ease the situation for both of you.

    Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com.

     
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  • Next up: How to Recognize and Handle Cyberbullying in the Workplace
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  • How to Recognize and Handle Cyberbullying in the Workplace

    Cyberbullying should never be tolerated, but it may be hard to recognize—especially in the workplace. Learn how to identify the signs and understand how to handle it once it is detected.

     

    It’s important to recognize the signs that an employee may be experiencing cyberbullying, which should never be tolerated in the workplace. Signs of cyberbullying are often subtle. Managers and company owners need to know how to recognize these signs, how to handle the situation and how to utilize methods of prevention.

    Let’s start with the definition of cyberbullying. Essentially, cyberbullying is a method of bullying or trying to inflict psychological harm to someone, through the internet or other means of cybercommunication. While we tend to think of it as something that usually happens to children or teenagers, it actually can happen to anyone of any age. It is a means of threatening someone using social media or on-line technology. It is also used as a way to demean someone. Cyberbullying can be motivated by many things including revenge, boredom, or a lack of empathy. Additionally, because it’s usually anonymous, it’s often motivated by a person who is feeling invincible. In a work situation, it is often used to deal with jealousy, for sabotage or revenge. 

    RELATED: Understanding and Building a Positive Work Culture

    Cyberbullying generally involves threats or mean comments that are clearly meant to hurt someone. Making fun of someone on-line in a cruel and hurtful way is a classic form of cyberbullying. People who cyberbully feel powerful and confident because they are doing it anonymously. 

    The main forms of cyberbullying are:
    Harassing someone 
    Impersonating someone
    Photo harassment
    Creating websites, blogs or other means of hurting someone thru social media channels

    Cyberbullying is most likely a situation that occurs when a person is being threatened, humiliated, embarrassed, tormented and hurt by another person using text messaging, e-mails, or any other type of digital technologies. Cyberbullies often post humiliating information.

    Some signs that an employee is being cyberbullied include:
    Exhibiting frustration, anger, or anxiety
    Having insomnia
    Exhibiting performance or productivity issues
    Being emotionally upset during or after using the Internet or the phone
    Being very secretive or protective of one's digital life
    Withdrawal from other employees
    Avoiding workplace gatherings
    Eating lunch or taking breaks alone

    The biggest difference between cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying is that the internet is available 24/7 and it can be invasive and inescapable. In a business situation, employees are protected by federal law if subjected to a hostile working environment, so it is incumbent upon you to make sure that they feel safe at work and this includes feeling safe on-line as well.

    You need to be aware of the frequency and severity of the unwelcome conduct, whether the conduct was physically threatening or humiliating, if it is interfering with work performance, if it is having a negative effect on the employee's psychological well-being, and whether the alleged harasser is their manager or superior within your company.

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff

    What you can do to help prevent cyberbullying is to offer employees and management intensive training about all forms of bullying, including cyberbullying. They need to know it is unacceptable in your company and will not be tolerated. Make sure that you clearly state the penalties for this behavior. It is no different than training employees about sexual harassment or any other unacceptable behavior. You also need to create a culture that allows a victim to feel comfortable coming forward to report cyberbullying, just as you would for any other form of bullying. And make it known that cyberbullying will not be tolerated in your workplace. It is an important and very positive message for you to send. 

    President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Security ExpertTimothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com.

     
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  • Next up: Implementing Automation and Lean into Your Business—No Matter the Size
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  • Implementing Automation and Lean into Your Business—No Matter the Size

     

    Time is money, especially when it comes to business. If you could maximize employee time, reduce business costs and save your customers time, would you jump at the opportunity?

    Most likely, the answer is going to be yes. 

    If that’s the case, then automation and lean processes should be something to consider for your business. But what exactly is automation and lean?

    “Automation reduces human error and lean eliminates waste. They both eliminate hours of labor and go hand in hand,” said Kathy Dockery, SVP, Chief Information Officer at First Mutual Holding Co., First Federal Lakewood’s holding company. “It’s not if you should lean the process, it’s a matter of when.”

    At First Federal Lakewood and all our affiliate banks, implementing automation and lean are a top priority across many departments. Introducing efficient IT solutions, consolidating employee processes and cutting out excess steps are just a few ways that the banks are working towards productivity within the business.

    From startups to large corporations, Dockery believes every size business can benefit from the efficiencies gained from these initiatives—including employees and customers.

    However, Dockery warns that it’s not a one and done initiative. An internal cultural mindset needs to happen in order for automation and lean to be successful. 

    “Employees have to be behind both ideas, and it has to be cultivated within the organization first,” she said. “Awareness must be raised so the company can let go of repetitive processes and improve efficiency.”

    Where to begin?

    There are a few things to consider if you plan on implementing automation and lean into your business.

    You want to start by creating a committee with the leaders from each Line of Business. This internal group must exist so they can create rules, provide guidance, and ensure everything is being maintained as the environment changes.

    “You must have strong leaders backing and supporting this initiative,” Dockery said. “Once that’s in place, there needs to be training, communication via company-wide townhall meetings and meetings with employees to walk them through the ideas. This way, everyone understands the culture you’re trying to cultivate.”

    Once a committee is in place and has created ideas for their department, a decision can be made on where automation and lean should occur within the organization.

    “Look at the company as a whole,” Dockery said. “The departments with the most processes and most employees will be the first to benefit from automation and lean. Look at the financials in those areas and start digging into it from there.”

    Beyond the initial step of creating a team, Dockery recommends tracking KPI’s around each process that you’re going to automate and lean.

    “I recommend having quick wins,” she said. “Take those wins and use them as examples when you’re in the beginning stages of implementing the processes. This may help you boost the overall confidence amongst the groups.”  

    Emerging trend in the world of automation and lean 

    As for the future, Dockery sees one emerging trend on the horizon for automation and lean. 

    In the automation sphere, hyperautomation is the latest buzzword. Hyperautomation is an approach that an organization uses to rapidly identify, vet and automate processes and covers everything from IT to business processes. 

    “Hyperautomation utilizes multiple technologies and platforms ranging from RPA, AI to machine learning,” Dockery said. “However, it isn’t about the technologies, it is about a new approach to business and IT processes.”

    No matter how big or small your business is, everyone can benefit from implementing automation and lean. While it may seem overwhelming to begin, the end result can leave you with large rewards.

     
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